Edinburgh is my second home – I have lived here longer than any other place (apart from the small town I grew up in) and it’s where my actual home is, the one which I own. Although it is currently someone else’s home as it’s rented out to help fund my travels. When there is a break between tenants I try to stay there and this is when I sometimes feel like a visitor in my own home.
It’s full of my furniture and belongings, but not many personal ones so it already feels less homely. It is also clean and tidy every time I arrive which really isn’t how I generally keep it. So even though it is familiar and safe there is a feeling of not quite belonging, just visiting. It feels like when you’re staying at a good friend’s house, one you’ve stayed with before so you know how to work the shower and where the corkscrew is kept but you make sure you tidy up after yourself and are careful not to leave make-up marks on the towels.
Sometimes I feel like a stranger in Edinburgh itself, a visitor who is slightly out of step with the rest of the city – not quite knowing the quickest route or the most recent news. Stopping to marvel at some bit of amazing architecture which I had blithely and somewhat blindly walked past for many years but now see it properly for the first time.
I never feel like a stranger amongst my friends though – I can rock up to the pub and it is as if I missed the last catchup pint, maybe two at the very most, but never the past 8 months’ worth. The hardest part is when they start making plans for after I have gone and that’s when I feel like I am apart from them and I have to remind myself that this is my choice, so that I can live this life. So yes, even though it is a problem for us transient types, I still feel very lucky to have it.